I had the opportunity to enter the first 250 pages of my first novel for a free critique with an editor. I awoke this morning to find the results in my inbox. No matter how long I’ve been working at this writing thing–and how realistic I think I am about the process–I admit some narcissistic section of my brain is still astounded every time I don’t hear, “Wow! I love this. It’s amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing.” LOL.
If only perfection came so naturally. But in writing, as in life, we learn through trying. Trying and failing (often through multiple failures).
What is important is being surrounded by people who are willing to offer help, guidance, or who simply serve as support as we try and fail. We have to be open to listening to the people who offer counsel and appreciate them for their efforts. We have to be open and honest in accepting their thoughts of where we might be going wrong and how we can better ourselves. For someone to give you an honest suggestion means that they care enough about helping you meet your goals to tell you the truth. It isn’t an attack, or a judgement.
It’s important to take some time, lick your wounds, and then consider their advice. Can you see past your own self-perception to recognize the truth in what someone else is seeing? Can you incorporate their advice and still remain true to your own vision?
In addition to being open to the counsel of others, let them know you are grateful. As you evolve into a better person–or writer, athlete, physician, etc–it will be because of all the people who cared enough to help. And then it will fall to you to be that support for someone else as they begin their journey.
(And all of this as a way to say thank you to all the people who have supported and advised me, and to Kate Foster and Rebecca Carpenter for their recent critique–which really was not a devastating experience, lol)